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Yamana Gold confirms Malartic underground potential

Canadian Malartic, located in the Abitibi region of Québec, is a 50:50 joint venture between Yamana Gold and Agnico Eagle Mines.(Image courtesy of Osisko Gold Royalties.)

Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI) (NYSE, LON: AUY) announced this week drill results that provide further support for the development of a future underground operation at the East Gouldie, Odyssey and East Malartic zones at its Canadian Malartic open pit gold mine in Québec, Canada.

The precious metals miner said that an ongoing C$24 million drill program had confirmed expected grades and widths of East Gouldie mineral inventories, supporting plans to ramp up exploration.

Drill results back Canada’s biggest gold mine prospects of growing beyond the current open pit

Mineralization is currently defined over 1,400m of strike length and a 1,200m vertical interval and occurs in two closely spaced panels that locally converge into a single wide mineralized body, Yamana said.  

The Toronto-based company also said that assays indicate grades averaging more than 3 grams per tonne with consistent homogeneous grade distribution.

The results are expected to increase inferred mineral resources at the higher-grade East Gouldie zone by the end of the year. This, Yamana noted, would improve the economics of the Canadian Malartic underground project and help define a project with a multi-million-ounce deposit that supports a decades-long life underground mine.  

Canadian Malartic, located in the Abitibi region of Québec, is a 50:50 joint venture between Yamana and Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX, NYSE: AEM). Last year, the mine churned out more than 660,000 ounces of gold.

Osisko Gold Royalties has a 5% net smelter royalty on the operation. The company, known until 2014 as Osisko Mining, built the mine and put it into production. Yamana and Agnico acquired the asset through the friendly acquisition of Osisko Mining Corporation

Highest cash flow in five years

Yamana also had positive news when releasing its third quarter results. Highlights include the highest operating cash flows since 2015 of $215 million, year-over-year free cash flow up more than 300%, and net debt declining a further $148.9 million.

The strong figures allowed the miner to up its annual dividend by a further 50% to $0.105 per share. At the new rate, the divvy will be 425% higher than the rate just 18 months ago.

The company also increased its 2020 production guidance to 915,000 gold equivalent ounces (GEO) from the previous 890,000 GEO, representing a 3% jump.

Yamana also hiked gold and silver production targets by approximately 1% and 6%, respectively, from previous guidance.

“Exceptional” operational performances in the quarter from the company’s Jacobina mine in Brazil, El Peñón and Minera Florida, in Chile, as well as Canadian Malartic, prompted the company to re-think plans.